In diplomatic breakthrough, UK to re-open Iran embassy
Tuesday, June 17, 2014 - 01:45
June 17 - Britain's Hague says re-opening of British embassy in Tehran could lead to Iran playing ''a more positive role across the region.'' Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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It was some two an a half years ago that Britain closed its embassy in Tehran after a protest against British sanctions turned violent.
In a written statement to parliament British Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday "the circumstances are right to reopen our embassy in Tehran."
It's a move Hague defended in parliament.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER, WILLIAM HAGUE, SAYING: (SOUNDBITE CONTINUES OVER SHOT OF MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT LOOKING ON)
"I can assure my honorable friend that there is no softening of any of our polices in relation to - in relation to - Iran. We look to Iran to see support for sectarian groups elsewhere in the Middle East, to reach a successful conclusion to nuclear negotiations, but I do believe it is important to discuss such issues with Iran, and we need the ability to do so."
Hague says Iran has a crucial role to play in the region, especially in Iraq and Syria.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH FOREIGN MINISTER, WILLIAM HAGUE, SAYING:
"But Iran does have the capability to play a more positive role across the region. It has played, for many years, a divisive and sectarian role through supporting divisive, or often terrorist groups, in other parts of the region. We look to it to desist from that and we will use the expansion of our bilateral relations to press for that as well as to encourage links between the peoples of our countries and to have a good understanding of each other's positions."
The announcement comes after the U.S., said it could launch air strikes and possibly act jointly with Iran to shore up the Iraqi government.
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